Zepha Jackson of Standard Procedure On Avoiding “Overwhelm” In Your Career
For International Women’s Day, POPSUGAR Australia sat down with Aussie women excelling in the ever-evolving business of beauty. We picked up tips, tricks, and the secret to surviving and thriving in business.
Zepha Jackson is co-founder of the Australian suncare brand Standard Procedure, which she runs with co-founder and pro-surfer Dion Agius. Zepha spoke to POPSUGAR Australia about dealing with overwhelm, learning fast, and knowing when to put your laptop down.
POPSUGAR Australia: What was your background before starting in the beauty industry?
Zepha Jackson: My education has been anything but traditional. I left school when I was 15 to move to Melbourne, and then left Australia when I was 17 for the greater part of 10 years.
I owe a lot to my experiences in my twenties. They shaped me completely. I lived in a lot of different countries, and I took every opportunity I could get my hands on.
My friends in different industries around the world knew I’d always be keen to just assist, intern, or jump in on any projects that I could learn from. They were never financially beneficial! But my priority was just to grow and make enough to get by — I had a lot of fun by doing so and for me, it has been the best education I could have asked for.
PS: When you see profiles on other entrepreneurs, do you identify with them?
ZJ: Working with my business partner Dion means our daily conversations start with “Good morning. What country/time zone are you in today”.
I travel a lot for work, but Dion even more so. He is a professional surfer so tends to have to follow the swell, meaning he usually has no idea where he’ll be tomorrow let alone in a week. Between the both of us moving around so much, it’s been a pretty unconventional way of doing biz so far, but we’re making it work the best we can. Partnerships can be really difficult, but I feel really lucky with Dion. D is one of my best mates, and it works because we both have so much respect for each other as well as really complementary skills.
PS: What’s one of the hardest things about starting and running a business?
ZJ: I’ve come to learn that being a business owner is essentially just being a full-time problem solver. No matter how organised you are, it’s just the nature of it all. There will be hiccups, and it’s always going to be your responsibility to own.
I hate letting people down. For example, when there’s a production delay that’s completely out of your hands, it’s tough to not feel like you’ve dropped the ball. It’s been a big learning for me that you’ve just got to do your absolute best, be proud and confident that each and every day you did what you could for your team, customers, and retailers.
PS: What are some of the things you wish you’d anticipated before you got your start in business?
ZJ: Labels will test you beyond belief. Those tiny sticky little things are the most complex, intricate, time consuming pieces of artwork with having to navigate cosmetic compliance standards. Who would have thought!
PS: How do you look after yourself while running a business?
ZJ: I’m still learning this… I really love working, always have. So it’s hard to know when to put the laptop down.
I recently started working with a business coach, Daim, who has instantly turned into a really good mate and my rock. Quite often things do feel really hard, and I can get deflated and overwhelmed. To be able to turn to someone in those moments and gain advice on how to navigate it, but also be told to go for a surf, relax, and it’s not the end of the world has been pretty life changing. My cortisol levels are thanking me, and Daim.
PS: Would you describe yourself as a naturally confident person or is it something you have to work on?
ZJ: This is a tricky question! Majority of my twenties, everything was a gamble. I was taking so many risks, always nervous, and never in my comfort zone! There were plenty of times I’d have to fake that confidence. I’m certainly still taking risks, and out of my comfort zone now, but I do feel a lot more relaxed and naturally confident going into any meetings or situations. I think this is because I’m talking about something that I really do back and know so well. The times I don’t feel confident, I tend to feel it’s because I’m in the wrong situation or whoever’s company I’m in might not be the right fit.
PS: If you were talking to a young woman looking to start her own beauty or wellness brand tomorrow, what would your advice be?
ZJ: I would suggest before starting any business, understand why you want to and what you want from it. So many different types of businesses in all shapes and sizes can cater to different lifestyles.
It doesn’t always have to be about going as big as you can and exhausting yourself. Maybe you want to start something that can give you the flexibility to only work three days a week and be able to spend time on a hobby or with your family. Or you have a great idea that you think would be really fun, earn a nice salary but would never want to manage staff or extra risk. I think knowing that there are options and you’re in the driver’s seat can be really powerful. That’s the coolest part about business, you get to completely design it and your life yourself.